Welcome to the second part of this historical account of four kings and two kingdoms.
The first part concluded with what seemed to be the end of an unequal alliance between two Kings, two Kingdoms, two dynasties – Ahab’s demise at the battle front and Jehoshaphat’s escape back to his country. But we can’t be more wrong, because that was in fact the beginning of the consequences of a folly-alliance.
King Ahab’s deceit caught up on him while King Jehoshaphat narrowly escaped death. He returned to his Kingdom Judah and lived the rest of his life in peace and prosperity. What a God-fearing man. He would be missed! He was survived by seven sons.
His first son the Crown Prince Jehoram succeeded him as King Jo the Second.
King Jo the Second
Quick reminder: this young man was the same Prince who married the charming Princess Athaliah, Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, a political marriage and a form of alliance between the two royal families.
Needless to say, both King Jo II and his wife Athaliah followed the ways of Ahab!! How do I know? This new King did not bat an eyelid before killing his six younger brothers so he could secure the throne. Bloodshed? That was definitely Ahab and Jezebel’s way.
King Jo II was so wicked in his ways that Prophet Elijah, yeah, the same fire-spitting Prophet had to send a prophecy to him by delivered by MAIL as he couldn’t come physically – wherever the chariots of fire took him, Elijah could write a letter from there to warn this evil king. Thankfully, king Jo II reigned for only 8 years. He died of an incurable intestinal disease, that was after he lost all his children to attacks from marauders.
He was survived by his wife Athaliah the Queen, his youngest son – 22 years old Ahaziah and surprisingly, a Godly daughter named Princess Sheba who was married to a Priest named Iada.
Ahaziah was crowned King – King Jo III. And as expected, he too followed the footsteps of his mother Athaliah and grandparents Ahab and Jezebel.
Queen Jezebel – The Iron Lady and Her Sons
Talking of Jezebel, she seemed to have become the Iron Lady controlling both the Northern kingdom Israel and Southern kingdom Judah. Jehoshaphat’s alliance with her late husband gave her so much power in both kingdoms even though she was originally from another country entirely where her father ruled as an absolute Monarch. She remained her ruthless self.
Upon her husband’s death, her son Ahaziah became the King. But unfortunately, for some strange reason, he accidentally fell inside his Palace and sustained serious injuries. He died from the complications of the injuries. He reigned for only two years. After him, his brother Joram, also another son of Jezebel became the King. He reigned with terror for the next 12 years.
Spotlight back on Judah: History Repeating Itself
It would appear that the dynasty of Jehoshaphat had an uncontrollable obsession with Ahab’s dynasty. They had this compelling urge that they must be loyal and faithful to their “brothers” up North. Unfortunately the relationship always seemed to be one way and not the other way round.
History was repeating itself: Ahaziah (King Jo III of Judah) joined himself with King Joram of Israel to fight Joram’s battles again. And like his grandfather King Jo I, he managed to escape and survived the battle and returned home. Also like Ahab, Joram too was wounded, but he didn’t die and returned to his hometown in Jezreel, Israel to recover.
However, King Jo III felt compelled to keep visiting Joram in Jezreel until his full recovery. Unfortunately for him, during one of his visits, there was a coup de tat taking place in the Palace up North in Israel. The ailing King Joram was dethroned and killed by his Chief of Army Staff. King Jo III, by association, too became a victim. He tried to escape like his grandfather, only this time, he wasn’t so fortunate. He was shot and killed. What a tragedy!!
All these troubles were happening because of one man Jehoshaphat decided to tie his destiny and that of his family to a man who did not deserve it – Ahab!
Three Women, Three Destinies
At this point in history, the destinies of these two great nations all of a sudden lie on the shoulders of three generations of Women:
Jezebel (the Queen Mother in Northern Israel),
her daughter Athaliah (the Queen Mother in the Southern Judah)
and the new addition – the Godly Princess Sheba, Athaliah’s daughter.
Time Up for Jezebel!
Yeah, the time finally came for Jezebel to retire finally. It was time up for Jezebel. And for Ahab again. Enough of Ahab and his seeds!! Another king has taken over; Ahab and his entire household was wiped out, and Jezebel executed!! Of course she wasn’t gonna go down without a fight. She fully adorned herself in her queenly regalia and signature makeup, but her time was really up. What an unpleasant end for the power couple Ahab and Jezebel.
Athaliah: Judah’s Powerful Queen
The spotlight was back on Judah.
Athaliah probably panicked. Her mother, brother and entire family have all been killed in the Northern kingdom of Israel. And her own son the king too King Jo III was killed alongside.
It was time to bring out the Jezebel in herself.
She took over the Kingdom of Judah, becoming the first female Monarch in both kingdoms of Israel and Judah. True to form, she ruled with iron hands. She destroyed the Royal Family and killed every rival who could have access to the throne, all except one.
She thought she had wiped up all her competitions, but she was wrong. Because there was a baby whom her daughter Princess Sheba smuggled out of the palace and hid in the Temple; baby Joash who would later become King Jo IV, the king who, after all the drama, would make it all right again.
Mother and Daughter: The Face-off
It’s never too late for good to trump evil, and for every wrong to be made right. It was time for Princess Sheba to stand against her mother the Queen.
For six years, Athaliah reigned as the Supreme Monarch, Jezebel incarnate. It seemed evil had prevailed. But behind the scene was a toddler and his nanny, protected within the Temple walls by a rebel Princess and her Priest husband Iada and a privileged few sworn to secrecy.
As I conclude this series, I think about the books and movies where Priests commit treasonable acts, revolting against reigning Monarchs and toppling kings. Perhaps the most fascinating to me is “The man in the iron mask” which portrayed the bravery of the three musketeers and a faceless Prince in the iron mask.
It was Iada the Priest who felt he had had enough. Enough of his mother-in-law and the entire Monarchy. They’ve wrecked too much havoc in the Kingdom and it was time for them to go. But he couldn’t do it without the military. He summoned five army Commanders, the Carite mercenaries, Levites and some Temple guards. He made them to swear an oath and revealed the Prince to them. The Prince was just a seven years old baby, but he had enough Royal Blood to become the King. They knew they were at risk of immediate execution for treason, but it was a risk they were willing to take.
And just like that, they Crowned Joash as the new King, King Jo IV, even though the ruthless Queen Athaliah was still alive and well. She found out about the coronation minutes later, and screamed “Treason! Treason!”.
The transition was a bloody one, but one they fought to finish. And Queen Athaliah was executed for her crimes against humanity.
JOASH: The Boy King
King Joash (King Jo IV) reigned under the supervision, tutelage and mentoring of Iada the Priest. As a team, they corrected every single wrong and made Judah great again. They brought peace, prosperity and national security back to the Kingdom. They led the people back to God. And laid a lasting positive impact.
That’s not all, but Iada the Priest was blessed with long life living up 130 years and was buried among the kings, because he did well for the nation.
It took four generations for the Kings of Judah to be finally free from the influence of Ahab and his family, an alliance that King Jehoshaphat the First had trustingly and blindly forged, but phew! It felt good to be free at last.
All scriptures, unless otherwise stated,are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation.
For the full story, you need to read 1Kings from chapter 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 up to 2Kings chapter 12 ❤